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What really happened at Peevey’s last CPUC meeting
Before noon on Dec.18, a Bay City News reporter published a rare media account of Peevey’s last meeting at the CPUC titled “San Bruno blast: PUC’s Peevey presides over final meeting, receiving scorn and praise”. During untimed public comments 30 speakers droned on with accolades for his twelve years at the CPUC, one calling him the “greenest Commissioner”. After a couple hours the scorn began. 21 speakers had signed up to speak, most on smart meters. Robert Ernst read the names and smart meter complaints told to the CPUC judge at public hearings. (see video below)
Within hours the news article covering the scorn was censored, and almost all mention of smart meter opposition inside the CPUC meeting was removed. Here’s what was taken out:
“Armed police guarded the meeting, which at one point was interrupted by shouts when it appeared that Peevey intended to adjourn the meeting before all members of the public had a chance to speak.
“Be quiet,” Peevey told those who were shouting. Eventually, Peevey decided to continue the meeting through lunch and speakers continued to offer comments.
Numerous people offered opposition to the controversial PG&E smart meter program.
Robert Ernst of San Rafael offered Peevey “a dark rose for dark times” that he claimed smart meters pose for California. People held up signs that read “Listen to the Smart Meter injured.
“The PUC is clearly a captured agency, working on behalf of, and in collusion with, the utility it is supposed to be regulating,” said Sandi Maurer.”
Prior to the meeting we met on the steps of the CPUC in protest. The grim reaper held a wireless kills sign, black roses were handed out and a smart meter victims coffin was raised.
The alternate smart meter decision is APPROVED
After a lunch break, the CPUC approved Peevey’s alternate decision, which charges opt out fees of $75 initial fee and $10 a month ($10 and $5 for low income) for no more than three years. The decision excluded health and safety and disallowed community and business opt out. The Commissioners did not discuss it, only offered gratuities to those involved.
Thanks to everyone who coordinated the actions and participated, and to Steve Zeltzer for the following video:
A Chicago utility is scooping real low to promote smart meters by driving a red ice cream truck passing out free ice cream cones to children and families. They must be hoping for easy access to deploy their cancer causing fire starters. Beware of the armed guard.
Stop Smart Meters list of flavors:
Chocolate Implanted Chip
Smart Metered Mint
Cancer Peppermint Stick
Burning House Brownie Fudge
Controlled Creamy Caramel
An assortment of Intelligence Gathering Ice Cream bar
Recently the City of San Bruno released emails showing the illegal relationship between The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).
The City of San Bruno demanded the immediate removal of CPUC President Michael Peevey and substantial penalties against PG&E after it was exposed that top CPUC and PG&E staff engaged in repeated and illegal private conversations in the ongoing CPUC penalty proceeding related to the deadly 2010 PG&E gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno.
“Today’s disclosure demonstrates an ongoing, illicit and illegal relationship between the CPUC and PG&E,” said Mayor Jim Ruane, who released more than 7,000 pages of documents received after San Bruno filed a Public Records Act lawsuit against the CPUC.
Based on our experience with PG&E smart meters and our work at the CPUC, we know this unethical, illicit relationship first hand. The case against “Ralph Florea” aka Bill Devereaux, the head of PG&E’s smart meter department (who spied on us; circulated private emails to corporate PG&E, the CPUC and others; and sent a spy to photograph our protest) revealed the CPUC and PG&E were discussing our work via emails and held private meetings while our smart meter proceeding was still open.
Emails exchanged between PG&E’s EMF program manager and the CPUC illustrate collusion. PG&E did not file mandatory exparte legal paperwork. The attached document is redacted by PG&E but you can see the emails are between PG&E and the CPUC. They are discussing the EMF Safety Network, a conference call, and a letter from the FCC. See attached: 096SmartMeterInquiry
PG&E created a TAP (Technology Advisory Panel) on smart meters that included members of the CPUC Energy Division, CPUC Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), The Utility Reform Network (TURN), and others, and held meetings at PG&E, but the public was not invited to attend. See one meeting example here: 093SmartMeterInquiry
PG&E trained the CPUC Consumers Affairs Branch (CAB) how to respond to smart meter complaints. When people called to complain to PG&E about smart meters, then called the CPUC they got the same answer which left customers feeling frustrated and intimidated. See page 281-282
PG&E “Increased frequency of meetings with CAB staff. In addition to regular monthly meetings, met more on as needed basis as Smart Meter concerns began to increase, so CAB staff could provide more accurate and timely responses to customers (2010)”. “PG&E upgraded their phone system to give CAB priority call queue, and provided CAB a Smart Meter Overview to educate and support CAB.”
The EMF Safety Network received many complaints about the CPUC’s response to complaints. We sent a freedom of information request and asked them “Who tells the Consumer Affairs Branch, and the public advisors office what to tell people who call with complaints about Smart Meters? Who, or what authority instructs these two divisions on how to respond to ratepayers?”
The CPUC attorney responded with: “Phil Enis, a Program Manager with the Commission’s Consumer Service and Information Division, advises the Consumer Affairs Branch regarding responses to customers with complaints about Smart Meters. Karen Miller, the Public Advisor, also of the Commission’s Consumer Service and Information Division, advises the Public Advisor’s Office staff regarding responses to customers with complaints about Smart Meters.”
No mention of PG&E’s intimate involvement instructing CAB how to respond to Smart Meter complaints.
Thousands of smart meter complaints and the CPUC has never investigated the health risks of pulsed radiation smart meters. Not once has the issue of smart meter safety been addressed in evidentiary hearings.
The CPUC rubber stamped PG&E’s safety claims, based on a declaration from one PG&E employee.
At the core of the debacle is President Michael Peevey who has been the Commissioner for all the major smart meter proceedings. Remember the reassurances the CPUC gave about how the opt-out proceeding would be completed over a year ago? Nothing has happened in the proceeding since January of 2013. The CPUC has filed five delays since last December.
The CPUC is promoting smart meters, they are not regulating the utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service.
This casual culture is also evidenced by CFEE meetings where CPUC Commissioners and utility representatives meet. At this meeting Commissioners Nancy Ryan, President Peevey and PG&E’s Bottorff are present. See CFEE participant list. It’s business as usual that former Commissioner Loretta Lynch says is illegal and should not be happening.
We support the demands by the City of San Bruno to establish a culture that prioritizes “safety first” at the CPUC.
We support the immediate removal of Michael Peevey.
We support immediate legislation requiring the removal of any and all CPUC employees who have previously been employed by utilities.
We condemn the CPUC for repeated delays in the current smart meter proceedings where fees for opting out are being challenged on the basis of safety and medical needs.
We demand the CPUC hold evidentiary hearings on smart meter safety.
A cultural change focused on safety first should be the CPUC’s highest priority. Join San Bruno residents and others and demand the removal of CPUC President Peevey, sign here: Gas Pipeline Safety
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has delayed the smart meter opt out proceeding (A-11-03-014) for a fifth time- until Oct 4, 2014.
According to their own rules they were supposed to complete the proceeding in December 2013. They say the reason for the delay is “The issues in this proceeding are complex and require additional time to resolve.”
Margie Rothwell was having serious problems with the electricity in her home. The power turned on and off for no apparent reason. The house fire alarm kept going off and the noises were scaring her dog.
She called her brother, who was a master electrician, to help her. He found electrical lines not working and the smart meter digital readout was unreadable. He recommended she call the utility SMUD right away, which she did. (SMUD stands for Sacramento Municipal Utility District.)
A couple hours later, the SMUD technician came and when he got closer to the smart meter he said he smelled “burn”.
Margie recalled, “He had a very horrified look on his face when he looked at the burnt smart meter and meter socket.” The technician removed the smart meter and quickly put it in his truck, concealing the evidence.
The technician installed a temporary adapter which left her home with only 110 volts and limited power in parts of her house.
She was left with no dryer, no air conditioner, no electricity in the master bedroom, or anything that required 220 volts.
She asked the SMUD technician for a business card. He said he didn’t have one. She asked him for his name and he would not give her his full name.
The SMUD technician told Margie that she was responsible for replacing the damaged meter base, which included hiring a professional electrical contractor and getting a city permit. Margie asked him if SMUD would fix it. He said no.
She called several electrical professionals to get estimates which ranged from $1,500-$3500.
She then searched the internet for “smart meter problems” and she found out that this is a common problem with smart meters. In California, fire captain Ross had similar electric problems, as did another fire captain Matt Beckett. A fire erupted shortly after a PG&E smart meter was installed in Vacaville, California which killed a man.
She contacted the EMF Safety Network director, Sandi Maurer, who connected her to Eric Windheim, EMF Safety consultant, and director of Sacramento Smart Meter Awareness. Together they helped her write a declaration about the burnt meter and panel, the limited electricity, and her experience with the technician.
Margie sent the declaration and a demand letter to SMUD via certified mail with returned receipt. The following week Eric supported Margie at two SMUD board meetings, where she demanded they pay for the repairs as soon as possible. She reads her declaration in this audio file, at the 6:25 mark. Listen to more of her comments in this video below.
Margie asked the board, “If SMUD’s smart meter is so smart why didn’t it send SMUD a warning message that there was a very dangerous electrical failure going on at my house? Was SMUD going to wait for the fire department to send you a report in the mail?”
Following the board meetings, Margie:
Kept all communication with SMUD in writing
Refused to risk having another smart meter on her home
Demanded the analog meter as the only replacement
Never agreed or consented to the opt-out extortion fee
The smart meter could have burned down her house, with Margie in it. Since it caused similar hazards for other customers, she was not going to take that chance ever again.
Nine days after she went to the first board meeting SMUD repaired the burnt panel and restored an analog meter. SMUD paid for all the repairs, and they returned analog meter without Margie’s agreement to pay their opt-out fees of $127 plus $14 a month.
SMUD denied the smart meter was to blame for the electrical problems. The SMUD representative wrote to Margie, “What I can assure you of, is that the damage to your panel was not caused by the Smart Meter. The origin of the damage was in the meter socket assembly.”
Eric Windheim says, “A Maxim of Law is: “Where damages are given, the losing party should pay the costs of the victor” which is exactly what happened here. Since SMUD is paying for all of this they have admitted causation. If Margie’s wiring was really at fault SMUD would have charged her for all repair costs.”
Click here for more information on smart meter fires and explosions. If you are a SMUD customer and have questions about smart meters contact Eric Windheim at 916-395-7336 or contact him here.
A small rural electric utility in Northern California, Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC), has disconnected power to Stop Smart Meters Director Josh Hart and his partner Heidi for refusing to pay fees to keep an analog meter. Within this cooperative other customers are allowed to self read their analog meters, at no additional cost. Because Josh and Heidi refused a smart meter, they are forced to pay more, $300 a year more. They were not given the option to self read their meter.
Josh and Heidi moved to Plumas County to live in a safer environment. They live in an all electric house, and they have been without electricity since February 19, when PSREC cut the power to their home. In the following video Heidi tells the “cooperative” why she believes the disconnect is unfair and illegal, and how she feels scared, bullied and shocked about how they are being treated.
PSREC general manager Bob Marshall comes unglued as he responds to Heidi’s comments and having the public meeting filmed. He demands Josh stop filming and threatens to call the sheriff. Marshall then responds to Heidi’s request for fair treatment saying,“We disagree strongly with everything you said”. Then he turned the blame on her saying, “we disagree with your bullying…” Watch the video below.
Perspective by Cindy Sage: The misguided program of mandatory ‘smart wireless meters’ has done more to undercut the gains in public support for energy conservation in this country than any other single factor. The national shift to embrace energy conservation in the face of climate change has been derailed by mandatory ‘wireless smart meter’ programs. And judging by the public outrage against the National Security Agency (NSA) spying program revealed by Edward Snowden last summer, Americans have come to understand that government mandates for smart meters is likely one more ‘deep drilling project’ on their personal habits, preferences, life styles and medical conditions.
The smart meter program is widely seen as a spying, snooping, expensive, potentially hazardous, involuntary and entirely unnecessary burden for which energy conservation is a mirage. It is unlikely that Americans will stand for public utilities spying on their homes using energy use and conservation as the ruse, and make money on these data by selling their personal information to third party information brokers for profit.
How could one bad idea so completely galvanize such enormous and widespread public resistance? And lead to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) review of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) wireless safety standards and general distrust for government ideas about energy conservation? And undercut public support for some national environmental groups? It is really quite stunning how a single failed corporate/governmental strategy could backfire so rapidly and so completely.
Some national environmental groups bought into the technology, mistakenly gave it a ‘green’ endorsement, and actively partnered with ‘smart’ technology corporations like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Some have publicly promoted the ‘smart meter’ as a good way to achieve energy conservation. Other environmental groups have been silent. They have turned a blind eye and refuse to take a position.
Environmental group leadership and independence of scientific assessment has taken a huge blow and will take decades to recover. Donors will think twice about where they send their donations to protect the environment. They believed in false promises but didn’t look deep enough. The national priority to convince families to conserve energy for the good of the planet has taken a direct blow. Who can believe in them now?
It shows how little anyone really knew what these meters entailed in ‘unintended consequences’. And how immediate the adverse effects would become visible.